By Staff of Oil Change International – Two studies released today find that if built, the controversial Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines would together contribute as much greenhouse gas pollution as 45 coal-fired power plants — some 158 million metric tons a year. The studies, released by Oil Change International, build upon a new methodology, also released today, for calculating the climate impacts of natural gas pipelines in the Appalachian Basin based on the evolving science of methane leakage and its impact on our climate. The studies show that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is out of date on measuring climate impacts, and is failing to protect communities and citizens around the country. “Our analysis shows that both the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline are climate disasters.
By Nina Chestney for Reuters – The falling cost of electric vehicle and solar technology will halt demand growth for oil and coal from 2020, according to research published on Thursday, posing a threat to fossil fuel companies unprepared for the transition. The Grantham Institute at Imperial College London and independent think tank Carbon Tracker Initiative analyzed cost forecasts for electric vehicle (EV) and solar photovoltaic (PV) technology, government policies and the impact on road transport and power markets, which account for half of global fossil fuel consumption. “Fossil fuels may lose 10 percent of market share to PV and EVs within a single decade.
By Joel Connelly for Seattle PI – The state of Washington will not allow its aquatic lands along the Columbia River to be used in a major coal export terminal, a decision announced late Tuesday by outgoing State Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark. The decision by Goldmark deals a serious blow to the Millennium Bulk Terminals project, which has already experienced the bankruptcy filing of its parent firm Arch Coal. It is the latest of several blows to the fossil fuel industry in the Northwest. The lands commissioner turned down a request by Northwest Alloys, a subsidiary of Alcoa, to sublease state-owned aquatic lands to Millennium.
By Lucas Davis for The Conversation – This is the worst year in decades for US coal. During the first six months of 2016, US coal production was down a staggering 28 percent compared to 2015, and down 33 percent compared to 2014. For the first time ever, natural gas overtook coal as the top source of US electricity generation last year and remains that way. Over the past five years, Appalachian coal production has been cut in half and many coal-burning power plants have been retired This is a remarkable decline. From its peak in 2008, US coal production has declined by 500 million tons per year — that’s 3,000 fewer pounds of coal per year for each man, woman and child in the United States.
By Erin Baldassari for The Mercury News – OAKLAND — During a raucous four-hour meeting Monday night, the Oakland City Council voted unanimously to ban the storage and handling of coal and petroleum coke in the city. Councilmember Desley Brooks was absent from the meeting. Hundreds of people filled the council chambers, spilling into overflow rooms, and offered several hours of commentary frequently punctuated by cheers, applause and outbursts from audience members on both sides of the issue.
By Suzanne Goldenberg and Helena Bengtsson for The Guardian – Peabody Energy, America’s biggest coal mining company, has funded at least two dozen groups that cast doubt on man-made climate change and oppose environment regulations, analysis by the Guardian reveals. The funding spanned trade associations, corporate lobby groups, and industry front groups as well as conservative think tanks and was exposed in court filings last month.
By Patrick McGinley for The Conversation – Coal’s share of the U.S. energy market is rapidly plunging. Low-cost fracking-generated natural gas has overtaken the use of coal at America’s power plants. Impending implementation of the Obama administration’s proposed Clean Power Plan, which would place stringent regulations on coal-fired power plant emissions, has also helped to drive coal production to its lowest level in decades. Government sources predict further decline. Fifty U.S. coal companies have filed for bankruptcy since 2012.
From Rising Tide of North America. Below is a live blog of tweets reporting on the Break Free protests. For the past week, across the world people have been standing up to power of the fossil fuel industry. Rising Tide North America will be sharing live updates from Break Free actions through the weekend. Tweet from the United States, Canada, Germany and Ecuador. People came on land and on the water. The protested refineries, coal, coal trains and carbon infrastructure. People used banners, processions, sit-ins and tripods — and more. The global uprising across the world called for humanity to break fee from fossil fuels.
By Mitch Jones for Food & Water Watch – Following a recent report from the Department of Energy that 66 percent of natural gas produced in the United States comes from fracked wells and news that March was the third straight “hottest month ever,” Mother Jones has published a piece – for a second time this year – that argues that fracking for natural gas is a valuable, even necessary, tool in the fight against climate change because it displaces coal. Both pieces were written by ClimateDesk Associate Producer Tim McDonnell.
By Mary Anne Hitt for Sierra Club – This is big – for our climate, for clean air and water, for our future. It’s also big because the US government is honoring its treaty obligations. After a five-year struggle that engaged hundreds of thousands of people, on Monday the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a landmark decision todeny federal permits for the biggest proposed coal export terminal in North America, SSA Marine’s proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal, a coal export facility at Xwe’chi’eXen (also known as Cherry Point), Washington.
By Kelly Hayes for Truthout – Missouri activists have long struggled against the environmental devastation, residential displacement and unsafe labor practices of Peabody Coal, the world’s second-largest coal producer, which is based in St. Louis. Peabody’s acts of destruction have been vast and numerous, from contaminating aquifers with toxic coal sludge to its disregard of labor safety standards, and even the looting of sacred Native artifacts. But the company’s recent bankruptcy filing has brought little comfort to those most affected by Peabody’s conquest and avarice.
By Tracy Rucinski for Reuters – Leading global coal producer Peabody Energy Corp (BTU.N) filed for U.S. bankruptcy protection on Wednesday after a sharp drop in coal prices left it unable to service debt of $10.1 billion, much of it incurred for an expansion into Australia. The Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing ranks among the largest in the commodities sector since energy and metal prices began to fall in mid-2014 as once fast-growing markets including China and Brazil started to slow.
By Luke for DC Indy Media – On the 31st of March, climate activists showed up at the Japanese Embassy to demand that the Prime Minister Abe reject plans for Japanese governmental funding of the planned Batang coal burning power plant in Indonesia. For four years Indonesian activists have stopped the plant and defended the land at the price of arrests and human rights violations. No bank will touch it, so now funding is being sought from the Japanese government.
By Ken Ward Jr. for Charleston Gazette-Mail – Former Massey Energy Co. CEO Don Blankenship, who rose from humble beginnings in Mingo County to become the wealthy and powerful chief executive of one of the region’s largest coal producers, will serve one year in prison and pay a $250,000 fine for a mine safety criminal conspiracy, a judge decided Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Irene Berger sentenced Blankenship to the maximum penalty allowed for his conviction for conspiring to violate federal safety and health laws at Massey’s Upper Big Branch Mine, where 29 workers died in an April 2010 explosion.